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We left Singapore as the sun rose, bound for Bali and our first destination  Balian Beach…

Pronounced Bali-ahn, which means magic healer, this little town sits on the coast about 2 and a half hours north west of the airport.

Arriving a little weary after our early start (4am wake up!), we, bleary-eyed, clambered into our taxi for the journey away from the hectic southern end of Bali. The roads were jammed, horns endlessly honked, motorcycles weaved in and out, and the air was a haze of vehicle fumes. Get us away from here!

After a hot (no air-con) ride, we breathed in the fresh sea air of Balian…and sighed deep relief that this was unspoilt Bali. This little town attracts a surfing crowd as it boasts swell to compete with other good spots on the island.

The sea was relatively calm whilst we were there, but we enjoyed watching those more experienced surfing further out to catch the waves.

What struck us was the amount of driftwood carpeting the beach. The locals collect it up, bag it and sell it to be made into decorations and furniture.

Albie, meanwhile, used it as part of his game – apparently defences whilst he was under attack?!

Luxuriating with our own private pool (“What?!” we hear you ask!) and two frangipani trees (have we mentioned these are our favourite flowers yet?!), we were pretty smug about our first night’s booking (and price!).

We were treated to some stunning sunsets…

…played games, chilled on the beach and ate in cafe shacks overlooking the Indian Ocean…

The beach is situated at a river mouth, where fast flowing water enters the sea with gusto.

After only a couple of days, we have Bali under our skin: the warmth of its people and their gigantic smiles, the smells and sounds, the taste of Indonesian food and the magical calm aura. We are one happy family!